Last Word First
Elon Musk – ex-creator of PayPal – space explorer - car manufacturer – zero-emission electric vehicles – luxury tech – quick, as in Ludicrous – here now – expensive – Cead Mile Failte Tesla.
With their very individual look, Tesla cars may be twin-track in design, but under their aluminium bodywork they are a world apart from anything on our roads. Think of a very fast computer, which can update itself regularly, put some wheels on it and you’ve got the essence of Tesla. Add a very decent chassis, a 21st century bespoke, luxury interior and performance figures that bring the future into your lap in a blink. Tesla is literally out of this world.
Albeit this is a seven-seat SUV, all notions of lethargy are immediately redundant once the go pedal is pressed with any degree of vigour. This car will require anyone bar those who have experienced supercar or superbike performance, to recalibrate their every notion of motion. It grabs the horizon and fires it into your windscreen with silent ease – truly a phenomenal experience, particularly if you choose to select the drive mode called ‘Ludicrous,’ – never has an adjective been more appropriate. Any such practice with mum-in-law and offspring on board will result in dentures and body fluids peppering your opulent confines – consider yourself warned!
If the demise of the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) is upon us and Tesla is the future, then prepare yourself – the future is going to be silent, high-tech and rapid. Currently, (no pun intended), the Tesla is in a world of its own, its battery power, range and pricing placing it in a very exclusive segment of future motoring today.
Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-Series, Bentley GT, Maserati Quattroporte, Range Rover, Jaguar XJ, Audi A8, Lexus LS600h.
Make: Tesla, Model: Model X 90D, Format: 5-door Luxury SUV, Seating: 5/7-seater, Drive: 4-wheel drive, Engine: Two x three-phase, four-pole AC induction motors with copper rotors, Battery Power: 90kWh, Power Output: front motor 259bhp: rear motor 259bhp, giving a battery limited System Power of 417bhp, Torque: 660Nm, Driving range: 498kms, Drag Coefficient: 0.24, Boot space: 894 litres, Warranty: 8 year, infinite kilometre battery and drive unit warranty, with 4 year, 80,000 km limited warranty, Prices start for Model X 75D from €107,591, the deliciously ludicrous, Model X 90D, is priced from €117,794
Different from first glance, coming with no front grill, the Tesla causes double take for any one with a motoring eye. It stands 2,271mm wide, has a wheelbase of 2,965 is 5,037 in length and is 1,684mm in height. With an ‘engine bay’ without an engine, a rear-end without an exhaust, no fuel tank and its batteries mounted in its floor, the Model X looks like a car, is shaped like a car, has all the design cues that make it a car, but this is like no car on the planet – welcome to the world of Elon Musk, where motion has been redesigned.
From the door handles popping out of their recess to the immediate sense that you are entering a different world. Tesla has put their flavour on every aspect of the car’s interior, from the thin-backed seats to the visual knowledge that you are about to drive a mobile computer.
The Tesla Model X carries a myriad of automated comfort, safety and connectivity systems, without question placing it at the highest level of automated, automotive development in the world. Make no mistake, everything you do in this car is being overseen and assessed by the cars monitoring systems, the step from here to fully automated driving easy to imagine. It comes with three years free connectivity to the 3G network, another indication of Tesla’s providence.
With zero emissions emanating from the Model X on the exterior, the interior gets a medical grade HEPA filter, which strips outside air of pollen, bacteria, viruses and pollution before circulating it into the cabin. Coming with three modes: circulate with outside air, re-circulate inside air and a bioweapon defence mode, the occupants travel in an ambience of the highest quality.
Access to the middle and third row of seats is via their double-hinged ‘Falcon Doors’ that articulate upwards allowing passengers to enter and leave unhindered. Sensors in the doors prevent them from getting fouled or clattering off something in their upward movement. Requiring just over 30 centimetres of clearance each side, these doors will prove positive for those with child seat access and self lock once the foot brake is applied.
On the Road
Akin to all EV’s the Tesla Model X moves off with silent stealth, taking its place in road traffic without fuss. This is one substantial car, being wide and long – a tad wider, longer and heavier than a Range Rover, so due respect is required.
The view out the large windscreen is excellent, the information on every aspect of your journey, driving behaviour and the cars status, available on the 17” centre screen and driver console. With its principle software updateable, the latest Google maps ensure you are never lost, just on tour.
Driven through the city and onto secondary and national roads, the X 90D was very easy company. Like other EV’s the Tesla has oodles of beautiful torque at the tip of your toes and it regenerates once you lift off the throttle, resulting in the car slowing down as if you are light braking – great if you have every undergone advanced driver training, where ‘acceleration sense’ is a developed skill. This feature allows for very smooth driving in traffic and through bends – I loved it.
Being a multi-seater, it drives well without delivering an out-and-out sporty drive, albeit has the potency others can only dream off. With its weight low down it is nonetheless a very decent drive, steering positively and feeling secure unless you go total banzai!! Treated with a degree of respect, the Model X 9oD covered the miles with minimal effort, it’s so easy to be charmed by its calm demeanour – so I let it.
With its range of 498kms, the X 90D should meet the demands of most. Tesla Supercharger Stations have multiple docking stations and are capable of charging vehicles at up to 120 kW, which allows for about 270 kilometres of range in as little as 30 minutes, roughly 80%, all dependent on your driving style, the demands of air conditioning etc., and the terrain. ‘Destination Chargers’ will be located at supermarkets and hotels, which will give you approximately 27km per half-hour. All are easily located on the cars navigation system.
Owners will have to invest in the €400, 50kWh Chademo adaptor to get access to ESB e-Car public charging points and a further €1,000 to get their 11kW home charger installed, (136km approximately available after half-hour charge). After this outlay the cost factor of charging is softened by the 400kWh you get free from being part of the Tesla Supercharger network, (120kWh), which gives you some 1,500 kilometres of motion free. Using the night-rate to charge your Tesla will unquestionably give you running costs of moped proportions in comparison to the competition.
Tesla rise into the motoring echelons could easily be defined as ‘ludicrous,’ their future certain to be part of ours. With its high purchase price, it will appeal to those who can and in particular to those with a liking for an emission-free future. One can only be impressed.
Some of Tesla X’s Safety Systems
Automatic Emergency Braking
Designed to detect objects that the car may impact and applies the brakes accordingly
Side Collision Warning
Warns the driver of potential collisions with obstacles alongside the car
Front Collision Warning
Helps warn of impending collisions with slower moving or stationary cars
Auto High Beams
Adjusts high/low beams as required